Location: Los Angeles County
Time Period: DOE 1959-1995; DOE Remediation 1998
Facility Type: Department of Energy
In 1959, the Atomics International Division of North American Aviation moved to its new facility on De Soto Avenue. AEC/DOE work conducted at this location included engineering design, construction, and nuclear fuel fabrication. The facility also had a radio chemistry laboratory and a gamma irradiation facility. The fuel fabrication facility was used to produce a variety of different fuel elements for test reactors. AEC-sponsored work involving the manufacture of beryllium-containing parts also took place at this site. Fuel fabrication was terminated in 1984, however small scale laboratory research work on gamma irradiation and analysis of radioactive samples continued until 1995. A DOE-owned mass spectrometer at this location was removed from the premises and sent to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 1995.
Remedial activities occurred at various times in the 1980’s followed by license termination by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In 1998, decontamination and decommissioning of the mass spectrometer laboratory, funded by the DOE was performed by The Boeing Company. In 1998, decontamination and decommissioning of the state-licensed gamma irradiation facility was performed by The Boeing Company.
CONTRACTORS: The Boeing Company (1996-1998); Rockwell International (1973-1996); North American Rockwell (1967-1973): North American Aviation (1959-1967).
De Soto Avenue Facility is listed as a Department of Energy (DOE) site under the EEOICPA.
Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Classes:
All employees of the Department of Energy, its predecessor agencies, and their contractors and subcontractors who worked at the De Soto Avenue Facility in Los Angeles County, California, from January 1, 1959 through December 31, 1964, for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days, occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees included in the Special Exposure Cohort.
(Note: This class was established from Petition 168)
As of 08/2015, the total compensation paid under Parts B and E of the EEOICPA, including medical compensation, for workers suffering from the effects of having worked at De Soto Avenue Facility is $44,849,020.
De Soto Avenue Facility Workers:
If you or your parent worked at this or any other DOE or AWE facility and became ill, you may be entitled to compensation of up to $400K plus medical benefits from the US Department of Labor. Call EEOICPA Counsel Hugh Stephens at 1-855-EEOICPA (336-4272) or fill out the form to the right, whether or not you have already filed a claim and even if your claim has been accepted or denied.
We can help with all OWCP (Federal Workers Compensation) claims, impairments, wage loss and health care. 2495 Main Street, Suite 442 Buffalo, NY.
*NIOSH Site Profile:
Radiological operations occurred at the DeSoto Facility from 1959 to the mid-1990s. AI used nuclear fuel material and other radioactive materials in Buildings 101 and 104 from 1959 to 1983. A much-reduced level of work was continued by Rocketdyne in Building 104 into the mid-1990s. Before 1984, Buildings 101 and 104 were designated as 001 and 004. Much of the historical documentation refers to these building numbers. The following paragraphs briefly summarize the nuclear operations in these buildings.
L-77 Reactor (NRC Licensed). The L-77 small research reactor operated in Room 416-61 of Building 104 from 1960 to 1976. The L-77 was a low-power (10 W) reactor using enriched uranyl sulfate solution. The L-77 was a prototype teaching reactor sold to many universities and around the world. The laboratory housing L-77 was decommissioned and decontaminated in the late 1970s. The NRC released the facility for unrestricted use and terminated the reactor’s license in February 1982.
Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) Fuel Fabrication and Supporting Activities. NRC-licensed fuel fabrication operations were conducted in the northern section of the first floor of Building 101, with radiochemistry support operations conducted on the first and second floors of Building 104. These support activities included hot chemistry laboratories (east section of second floor), an emission spectroscopy laboratory (Room 411-72, first floor), and an X-ray diffraction laboratory (Room 411-58, first floor). The fuel fabrication facility produced a variety of different fuel elements for test reactors. Many fuel manufacturing programs began in 1959 using 2% to 93% enriched uranium metal and composites. Some of the work involved developing uranium-aluminum alloys and, because of the uranium, occurred in sealed gloveboxes. One of the larger programs was fuel manufacture for the ATR using uranium-aluminum (UAlX) powder with an enrichment of 93%. Fuel manufacturing ended in 1983. In addition, AEC-sponsored work involving the manufacture of beryllium-containing parts took place at this site.
D&D of Buildings 101 and 104 included removal of all fuel and radioactive materials and waste; removal of contaminated equipment, drain lines, tanks, and ventilation ducts; and cleaning of all surfaces including floors, walls, and ceilings.
Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF). This state-licensed aboveground vault in Building 104 used sealed 137Cs and 60Co sources for radiation hardening tests of electronic components and for food irradiation research. The Gamma Irradiation Facility consisted of Rooms 41M-11 and 41M-11A on the northeast corner of Building 104. Activity ceased in the late 1980s, and the sources were shipped off the site for recycling in the early 1990s. Bi-annual leak checks of these sources detected no leaks. In 1995, a Rocketdyne survey of the GIF verified that it was not contaminated.
Mass Spectroscopy Laboratory (Helium Laboratory). Up until 1995, Rocketdyne used the state- licensed Mass Spectroscopy Laboratory to analyze miniature radioactive specimens of neutron-irradiated nonfissile metals from DOE and international reactors for helium content. The Mass Spectroscopy Laboratory consisted of Rooms 414-69, 416-72, 414-75, 416-76, 416-76A, 414-77, 416-80, 416-80A, and 414-81 in the northeast section of the 1st floor of Building 104. Operations of the DeSoto Mass Spectrometer Laboratory generated very small quantities of radioactive, hazardous, and mixed waste, including radioactive solvents, solvent wipes, and acids shipped from other U.S. and international research organizations. In 1995, the equipment was shipped to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, where it continues to be used.
Fuel fabrication was terminated in 1984, but small-scale laboratory research work on gamma irradiation and analysis of radioactive samples continued until 1995. Remedial activities occurred at various times in the 1980s followed by NRC license termination. In mid-1998, all remaining equipment, interior walls, and drain lines were removed, and the facility was decontaminated. Residual contamination was low level and confined to the laboratory. No elevated radiation levels or contamination outside the laboratory were detected before or during D&D.
Former sewage lines connecting sinks and showers at Building 101 were plumbed into a network that discharged into a pair of 1,500-gal steel holding tanks. The tanks allowed sufficient time for sampling and analysis of the sanitary water before discharge to the main municipal sewer line. If the concentration of radionuclides was below the MPC, the water was released to the municipal sewer. Overly contaminated water would have been transported to the RMDF for evaporation, but no water in the holding tanks was ever above the MPC. During decommissioning of the facility in the 1980s, radioactive contamination of the small areas of soils adjacent to some of the drain lines was slightly above acceptable limits. Approximately 10 of 140 soil samples had activities in the range of 50 to 80 pCi/g in comparison to the NRC limit of 48 pCi/g. D&D included the removal of the holding tanks and excavation of contaminated soil. The outflow lines from the holding tanks to the main sewer between Buildings 101 and 104 remain in place.
NIOSH SEC Petition Evaluation Report:
Petition 168 (Jan 1, 1959 to Dec 31, 1964)
SEC Petition Evaluation Report – Petition SEC-00168 – Report Rev #: 0
Report Submittal Date: March 24, 2010
Technical Basis Documents
Atomics International – Introduction
Effective Date: 08/30/2006
Energy Technology Engineering Center – Site Description
Effective Date: 02/02/2006
Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the Canoga Avenue Facility (Vanowen Building), the Downey Facility, and the De Soto Avenue Facility (sometimes referred to as Energy Technology Engineering Center [ETEC] or Atomics International) – Occupational Medical Dose
Effective Date: 10/31/2008
Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the Canoga Avenue Facility, the Downey Facility, and the De Soto Avenue Facility (sometimes referred to as Energy Technology Engineering Center [ETEC] or Atomics International) – Occupational Environmental Dose
Effective Date: 04/26/2010
Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the Canoga Avenue Facility, the Downey Facility, and the De Soto Avenue Facility (sometimes referred to as Energy Technology Engineering Center [ETEC] or Atomics International) – Occupational Internal Dose
Effective Date: 04/26/2010
Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, the Canoga Avenue Facility, the Downey Facility, and the De Soto Avenue Facility (sometimes referred to as Energy Technology Engineering Center [ETEC] or Atomics International) – Occupational External Dose
Effective Date: 04/26/2010